“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 (NIV).
Last time I started sharing with you my personal journey toward a deeper faith. The first steps I shared about included studying God’s Word to figure out what His thoughts were, and then a shift in my attitude which led to me speaking in faith about the situation. Today I want to finish up with the last two steps that took my faith from a small mustard seed to a healthy harvest.
The next important step is defined by action. Faith requires action. Your health will improve, especially if you take actions steps toward it. Eating healthier and getting adequate rest are two actions steps I can take to help my body in the healing process. God made our bodies so intricately that when given the right conditions, they can heal itself. Think about when you get a cut. A normal basic cut (break in the skin) in a healthy individual, given time, will regrow skin and the cut itself will disappear, proving healing has occurred.
In some instances, it’s wise to take the view of a marathon instead of a sprint. Most good things in life take time. More than likely, the sickness didn’t come on suddenly. Usually the illness started undetectable and gradually grew over time until symptoms presented themselves that something wasn’t right. You may or may not receive an immediate miracle of great health, but making wise decisions and healthy choices for your overall wellbeing builds strength over time. God can perform a miracle and heal you with a word, a thought, a prayer. However, sometimes there’s a deeper lesson He wants learned along the way. In order for true faith to take root and grow, we need to put it into action, even (or especially) if we don’t see results right away. Not only will it grow our faith, but then when the time is right and God is ready, we’ll be prepared and ready.
The last important step in my faith journey, to date, has been a period of silence. The amount of time differs from person to person, but most people usually experience it at least once. In my opinion, faith needs to be tested in order to truly be faith. A great friend reminded me of Abraham’s faith journey. He was known in the Bible for having great faith. When Abraham was an old man, God came to him and promised that he would have offspring more numerous than the stars (Genesis 15:5). Abraham believed God even though many, many, many years passed before that promise was fulfilled. My friend lovingly reminded me the Bible isn’t clear whether or not God frequently reminded Abraham of His promise. There were probably many years in between the promise and the granting of that promise where God was silent. Abraham had to continue to believe and trust that what God promised, He would deliver.
Abraham is just one example from the Bible. If you want to truly be inspired by some great men and women from the Bible, read Hebrews 11, lovingly referred to as the faith chapter. We can learn a lot from the examples God provides of people who have lived before us. What was true hundreds of years ago is true today. If God has spoken to me, and I have checked the “promise” against God’s Word and it doesn’t contradict God’s teachings, then there very well may come a time when God is silent. During that period, I need to continue to speak in agreement with the promise, walk in the direction of the promise, and believe (attitude) that the promise will be fulfilled. Without those elements, it’s not really faith God is producing in me. It’s just God blessing me.
Growing faith can be very difficult. God doesn’t get upset with us when we start out with small faith. God wants to help us grow our faith. As God answers the little things, our faith muscles grow and we are quicker to have faith for the bigger challenges. That ultimately is what God wants. He wants us to trust Him completely with our lives. Growing in faith allows for bigger results – not just for our lives but for His Kingdom.
I am finding as my faith grows stronger in one area (healing), it’s growing stronger in others. When I learn to give God my heartache regarding healing for a loved one and find true peace in that major faith challenge, falling sound asleep at night during a storm that would have normally terrified me doesn’t even register on my radar.
I will leave you with one last thought. I have found it very helpful during my latest, most challenging faith journey to date to journal all the blessings God has provided along the way. That way, when the discouragement comes (and it will), I can look back on ways God has answered spoken and unspoken prayers and feel encouraged, inspired, and hopeful again.
Where are you on the staircase? What other steps has God been working with you on in your faith journey that you want to share with us?
I am going to enclose a link to a great post I read the other day from a friend, Caye Siller-VanZandt. She used the example from the Bible about the ten lepers and I gained even more insight and encouragement from her perspective. It was yet another way God was blessing my pursuit in growing my faith regarding healing. When we honestly seek God and want to understand Him and His Word better, He always answers. I pray that you’re as encouraged and blessed by this post as I was: http://cayeser.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/the-walking-dead.
Copyright 2013: Cheri Swalwell